Researchers in the University of Ulster's New Dynamics of Ageing Program are exploring the use of technology-enhanced clothing to improve the lives of older citizens. "This project is particularly exciting as we will be working with partners with complementary expertise that will enable our research in sensor technologies, data fusion, and intelligent data analysis to have a real impact on people's everyday lives," says Ulster professor Bryan Scotney.
Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute (SESRI) director Eric Wallace says the project is at the forefront of examining active lifestyles. "Essentially, once the data on the movements of older people is recorded, it is then passed to SESRI and we will make sense of it in a lifestyle capacity," Wallace says. "This information can then in turn be used by those developing the garments, to understand better the most effective usage of the technology in the clothing." The researchers say the technology could be used in a variety of applications, including monitoring room temperature and automatically adjusting the thermostat, or alerting caregivers or family members if the subject's heart rate drops.
The University of Wales also is participating in the project through its Smart Clothes and Wearable Technology group. "Little has been done to address the design requirements of older wearers in terms of human factors such as sizing, fit, predominant posture, thermal regulation, moisture management, protection, and the psychological 'feel good factor,' " says group director Jane McCann. "This project will develop a shared 'language' to enhance communication between older wearers and bring together the traditional clothing and textile designers with electronics and healthcare experts."
From BBC News
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